Rescue helicopter tailspins and crashes on the way to car crash (video)

Originally published at: Rescue helicopter tailspins and crashes on the way to car crash (video) | Boing Boing

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Man, I saw this earlier. Did they not realize they were on fire? You would think they would immediately set down somewhere if they did.

I don’t know, but it also looked like the tail section partially broke away from the rest of the helicopter, so something catastrophic went wrong with it.

Likely fire burned it off, there’s a fuel line that goes back to the tail rotor and it can’t take much

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Really? Why does the tail rotor need a fuel line? I’ve never heard of a helicopter that had a separate engine in the tail. Maybe hydraulic lines or something like that?


Yes, you can see the tail section partly broke off, which means the back rotor stopped doing its job and then it just spun to the ground. I am shocked two people survived, it looked like it went down hard.

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What? No there isn’t. The tail rotor is shaft driven, just like almost every other helicopter. The Broward County Sheriff helicopter is a Eurocopter EC-135/635. The tail section contains nothing but a driveshaft and a few wiring harnesses and such.



A painful illustration of the maxim that a helicopter has “the glide characteristics of a grand piano”.

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Helicopters don’t generally fall like grand pianos. Pilots train (and practice) to decouple the engine from the rotors (negating the torque reaction and the need for a tail rotor) in the event of an engine problem.

Using the potential energy in the rotating rotors and quickly changing the pitch of the rotors puts the aircraft into a condition called autorotation and allows the aircraft to be somewhat controlled during what is still a fairly rapid descent.

It seems to me that when the tail-boom went on that helicopter, it happened so suddenly and violently that the pilot didn’t have time to put the craft in autoration - As evidenced by the body of the aircraft spinning in opposition to the main rotors.

Even in this condition though, in a race between a flailing broken helicopter and a freefalling grand piano, the grand piano will hit the ground first.

*My personal ‘bottom of the internet’ is watching helicopter crashes on YouTube at 4am…


At a quick glance, the helicopter is flying level up until the moment the tail boom snapped suggesting the tail rotor was fine. The news also report that the crew was trying to extinguish the fire so it was likely somewhere the crew could reach. The smoke emenating from the back could be coming from anywhere rear of the engine.

It looks to me this was a transmission failure.

It looks like the two fatalaties include one pilot and on person in the apartment building.


They said the third guy was trapped and couldn’t get out. How horrible. I saw footage of the other two climbing out on the roof, which is pretty amazing they could do that.

I feel like with a helicopter, you could just put down in a parking lot or cul-de-sac in an emergency and sort out what to do with it later. The news said they radioed in for an emergency landing back a the air port. I guess they thought they could make it.

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